Until he was handed his baggy green cap this morning by Glenn McGrath, no one expected to see him play in the series, let alone today.

Agar has just 10 first-class matches to his name, most of them for Western Australia when he came into the side as a replacement for the injured Michael Beer (another leftie whose Test career is better forgotten).

Another of those FC matches was last week against Worcester, where he took modest figures of 2 for 79 and 1 for 86.

Agar is of Sri Lankan descent, with his grandad Nala Hewawissa having played with distinction for Dharmarajah College in Kandy.

He was born in Melbourne though, and trained at the Australian Institute of Sport and the Brisbane centre of excellence – he’s a product of the Australian ‘system’ that’s much maligned by purists and those from the ‘old school’.

After carving up in junior levels, he was picked for the Australia under 19 side at just 17. When he missed out on selection for Victoria, he moved to Perth to play for the Warriors. He is also in the Perth Scorchers Twenty20 squad.

He went on the tour of India, but didn’t play in Tests, so didn’t have his confidence shattered in the 4-0 defeat.

Although coming to the UK with Australia A to tour England, Scotland and Ireland, he was upgraded to the Test squad while here along with Steve Smith, who was also picked for the first Test. 

In May, he was playing for Henley CC in the Home Counties Premier League.

Those inside the Aussie camp say his a confidence young man who will take any opportunity that comes to him.

He has a best bowling performance of 5-65 against South Australia, so can take a big haul.He’s also a handy lower order batsman, meaning Australia’s tail will be expected to wag, with Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Peter Siddle or more than capable to cause bowlers some stress. While his selection was a surprise to most today, Australian chairman of selectors John Inverarity flagged he was in contention alongside Pakistani refugee Fawad Ahmed.

“If we decide to expand the Ashes squad and expand it with a spinner, then Ashton Agar and Fawad Ahmed are the two contenders for that position,” Inverarity said.

“They’re both included in this squad and we look forward to them getting more opportunity in this environment.”

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